Nine years ago, I bought a blue chair-and-a-half. Yesterday, I hauled it away.
As I was driving down the road, returning from the ‘dump-trash’ (that’s what my daughter calls the local collection facility) – I started thinking about the old blue chair. My wife and I purchased it on a whim. We lived in a small, two bedroom apartment, and we were expecting our first child. We were, as we always were back then, broke. But, we had good credit.
We went to a local furniture store and we scanned their selection of chairs. Quickly, we picked out out the blue chair-and-a-half, because it matched our other furniture. We used the furniture store’s in-house financing – and we promised ourselves that we would ‘pay the whole thing off, next month’.
When the next month rolled around, we didn’t ‘pay the whole thing off’. In fact, we took eleven months to pay for the blue chair. That’s right. It took us nearly a year to pay for a chair.
I was recently digging through some old paperwork, and I stumbled across the financing documents for the blue chair. I was astonished to see just how much we paid for the chair – and that the interest rate had been 21.99%! I also noticed that they charged me a delivery fee – and yet I distinctly remember using my own truck to bring the chair home.
As you can see, back in those days, I wasn’t very money savvy. In fact, I was foolish. When I wanted something, I went out and got it, regardless of its price.
Now, we are thinking about getting a new chair, to replace the old blue one. For the time being, we have simply moved an old recliner from one spot in the den to another, and we are using it to fill the space where the old blue chair used to sit. Eventually, we’ll buy a new chair. But, we’ll shop around first – comparing prices and features. We’ll pay cash and the purchase will be included in our budget. And, we’ll do business with a local furniture store with whom we have an established, first-name relationship.
In other words, we’ll make an informed decision based on rational thought, instead of an impulse purchase based on irrational want.
It isn’t easy, thinking about the way things used to be. But, it is good to know how much we’ve changed. It’s amazing how much better life is, when you have a plan and you stick to it.
How have your money management skills changed, over the years? Do you still impulse shop? Are you living on a budget? Leave a comment and let us know how you are doing.